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Britain’s cyberstalked youth: Factors affecting the prevalence and nature of online harassment

Bainbridge, Sonja (2011) Britain’s cyberstalked youth: Factors affecting the prevalence and nature of online harassment. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

As a relatively new crime, cyberstalking is little-understood in both public and academic spheres. Despite its serious impact on young people in particular and its likely progression as relevant technology develops, no reliable prevalence figures exist (Sheridan and Grant, 2007) and researchers are yet to fully account for victimisation (Kodellas et al, 2010). This was an exploratory study sampling UK residents. 100 volunteers completed a survey and cyberstalking was investigated with a partial replication of Bocij’s (2003) 11-item measure. Internet use and demographic details were examined as independent variables. The prevalence figure was expected between 10% and 20% but found between 20% and 34%. Social networking websites were implicated. Having less Internet experience, more time online, varied Internet use and gay, bisexual, lesbian, or transgender (GBLT) sexual orientation were suspected risk factors. Statistics showed that some aspects of Internet use were associated with victimisation but young people were at risk regardless of demographic variables. The findings should inform further studies and preventative strategies.

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